Roaming through a unique outdoor concert

If you missed it the first time through, “Ponder: Outdoor Concert” will allow you to experience music in a different way on Friday, Nov. 30. The brass ensemble will play around Lake Laupus on East Carolina University’s Health Sciences Campus beginning at 3 p.m. The nearly 40-minute concert is the product of ECU assistant music professor Dr. Travis Alford.

ECU music professor Dr. Travis Alford plays the trumpet during the outdoor performance of his composition “Ponder.”

ECU music professor Dr. Travis Alford plays the trumpet during the outdoor performance of his composition “Ponder.” (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Alford is a 2005 graduate of ECU’s School of Music and wrote this piece in 2012 when he was a graduate and doctoral student at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. He said it was written based on composer George Frideric Handel’s “Water Music” and was first performed around a fountain at Brandeis. While Alford said the name “Ponder” is an open-ended title, his wife came up with the name as a play on words since the music was composed to be played around a body of water.

ECU senior Joshua Poyner plays the tuba during “Ponder.” About 32 brass musicians were spread out around the Cupola for the performance.

ECU senior Joshua Poyner plays the tuba during “Ponder.” About 32 brass musicians were spread out around the Cupola for the performance.

The first performance at ECU did not take place around the fountain, but instead on the mall around the Cupola. Nearly three dozen brass performers – including trumpets, French horns, euphoniums and tubas – spread out along the mall for the piece. Each performer was also given a hand percussion instrument, like a temple gong, to play as well. As the music was performed, those walking through campus could stop and listen, or walk right through the performance.

“This was nice. I felt like the audience could be right in the middle of the music,” Alford said.

A bonus to walking through the performers was the chance to listen to different aspects of the music.

“All of the different melodies will kind of merge together in one area. So, I think that it’s a really cool idea,” said tuba performer and ECU music student Joshua Poyner. The performers were a mixture of ECU students and faculty.

“Wherever it’s performed, I want to allow people to just sort of stop and listen to the sounds around them to sort of experience the piece,” Alford said. “More than just listen to it – to experience the sights and smells and sounds of just being in the space.”

 

-by Rich Klindworth, ECU News Services